A day after cricketer MS Dhoni found himself in the news over his alleged links to the controversial real estate Amrapali Group, Rhiti Group, a company linked to the former India captain, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday had deregistered the Amrapali group, citing a report by forensic auditors who had claimed that Amrapali promoters had diverted funds to 23 companies through “sham” transactions. Rhiti Sports in which Dhoni has stakes, according to court judgment, received Rs 24 crores from one of the Amrapali group companies.
Amrapali Mahi Developers Pvt Limited - another company in which Dhoni’s wife Sakshi is a director - was also cited by the auditors to have carried out several questionable transactions with the Amrapali group.
On Wednesday (July 24), Rhiti Sports issued a statement to Outlook on the controversy which is reproduced below verbatim:
Rhiti Group, in light of various news articles, would like to clarify following aspects, in relation to the Forensic Auditor’s report and reports of various media houses in the matter of Amrapali.
With utmost respect to the orders of the Apex Court, We would only like to clarify that the observations mentioned in forensic report (only)are bereft of proper information or relevant documents. The company has been in possession of all information and relevant documents that can establish the clean image and that the observations made in the said report are incorrect.
It is pertinent to mention that Rhiti has been an endorsement agency for world class talent and was retained by Amrapali Group due to its fair and transparent business dealings since 2009. The question of siphoning funds does not arise because Rhiti provided all professional services as per the agreements and the then pre-agreed endorsement fee received from Amrapali was paid to relevant endorsing stars and celebrities.
To the contrary, in fact, we have legitimate business claims of approximately Rs 40 Crore against Amrapali group and towards the recovery of the same, we are before Hon’ble Supreme Court vide our IA No 125854/2018 dated 02.09.2018 which was allowed for impleadment by Hon’ble Supreme Court and we are also before Hon’ble High Court of Delhi since March 2018 for recovery of our dues (vide our Arb Application No Arb Pet No 189-191/2018).
It is pertinent to note that both the proceedings were instituted before the forensic auditors were even appointed.
Additionally, Rhiti clarifies that it was entirely cooperative during the forensic audit and furnished all sought information / documents that were required during the audit.
Rhiti further states that it was neither asked to provide any further documents or information nor the issues raised in the report like authority of Mr Anil Sharma(CMD, Amrapali) or authorized signatory of Rhiti were ever raised to us to enable us to satisfy the said auditors.
We are currently seeking legal advice and would accordingly take further steps, if so advised.
Amrapali Mahi Developers Private Limited, the other firm linked to Dhoni’s wife and cited in the auditors’ report, has not responded on the controversy yet.
Dhoni, incidentally, was the brand ambassador of Amrapali between 2009 and 2016. He quit his role as Amrapali’s brand ambassador under pressure from thousands of disgruntled homebuyers.
“We feel that Home Buyers money has been diverted illegally and wrongly to Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited and should be recovered from them as the said Agreement in our opinion do not stand the test of Law,” said the forensic audit report that the Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit reproduced in its judgment on Tuesday.
The auditors’ report said Rhiti received a total of Rs 42.22 crores from Amrapali group during 2009-2015. Of this, Amrapali Sapphire Developers Private Limited has paid a sum of Rs. 6.52 Crores.
The auditors stated: “This sum has been paid on account of Agreements executed by Shri Anil Kumar Sharma, CMD for and on behalf of Amrapali Group of Companies with Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited. There is no resolution on record authorizing Mr. Anil Kumar Sharma, CMD to enter into an agreement on behalf of all Amrapali group of Companies.”
With regard to Amprapali Mahi Developers, the auditors said: “We are informed verbally that this company was incorporated for development of a project in Ranchi. An MoU was also entered between the parties though we were not provided a copy of that."